Friday night I used a credit on Audible.com to acquire a copy of James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself and then listened to it in parts on through Saturday afternoon. Have a membership on that site but hadn’t actually tried it out yet. Glad to have done so. That book was very worthwhile. Yes, he mentions things he’s talked about on his blog, but it was nice to listen to him bring it all together in audio format. This is one I would recommend to others and maybe even share as a gift. Undoubtedly I’ll be re-listening to it in the future as needed, at least the last portion since that part really resonated with me and deserves to be drummed into my mind so that I continue working toward making positive changes in my life.
The 4 pillars of what he refers to as the “daily practice” are: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. You don’t need to read his books to get an idea of what he’s talking about there since it’s all been spelled out on his blog. It’s a simple idea, and yet how many of us have been cognizant of taking care of each of these areas in our lives on a daily basis? I certainly haven’t and seriously need to in going forward if things are ever to improve.
Been working on the physical aspect with exercise and being more careful about what I’m eating (and how much). Smoke and drink obviously, but not all habits can be tackled right out the gate. Might always smoke, though I do intend to cut down further on drinking since it’s expensive and the barscene is too laden with unnecessary drama. So that bleeds over into the emotional concerns seeing as how I’ve been anxious and depressed pretty consistently in recent years, which alcohol doesn’t truly help remedy even though it reduces inhibitions. All that guarantees is more opportunities to generate regrets. Wind up saying the wrong thing or being too reactive. Just causes drama. If I want to feel emotionally healthier, I need to give myself fewer reasons to feel like a schmuck. So alcohol and I will have to cool it, and my starting game plan is to divide the week into days I do go out and days I stay in and read and work on projects or play games or whatever else. Already ceased purchasing beer for home consumption a few weeks back (other than on rare occasion). And I tend to not overdo it when I go out so long as I avoid taking shots.
The barscene gets tiring in a hurry. But it was novelty after two years of rarely going out, so I don’t mind letting myself out of my cage for a while there. Just don’t need to waste too much time and money at places like that. Too easy to wind up in arguments. Gotta worry with getting home safely. Gotta dodge freaks and gropers who will never comprehend respect for personal boundaries (and when you spell it out to them they then want to argue with you, which is pure bullshit — I shouldn’t have to argue over not wanting someone’s hands on my body). Then there are cops prowling around, looking for any reason to bust people on public intox. And this drama with my former companion probably has me looking like an idiot — best not to help confirm that any further. Plus, when I drink I’m very prone to gossip, and that winds up reflecting poorly on me as well. It’s just a dumb situation all the way around. Perpetual adolescence is what the barscene tends to cater to, at least from what I’ve seen over the years. Is that what I want for myself? Is that an ideal place to meet friends who will inspire me to become a better version of myself? Not usually. Though I do like the place I’ve been hanging out at in recent weeks and consider it a better joint than most around here.
Another aspect of the emotional that must be addressed is to build up my sense of self-respect and self-worth. Indignation is a hallmark of pride, but that’s more to do with bravado than with actual self-confidence. That’s understood. I’ve already mentioned on here that I cycle between indignation and then resignation — basically get mad and try to defend myself and then wind up feeling low again and go into apologizing and then feel more depressed and anxious, until I feel stepped on again and then feel the need to bark back and get all reactive, which I can take too far and then wind up feeling guilty about, and on and on it goes. Stupid cycle. But now I at least see it for what it is. Next step is to break out of it somehow. One idea is to learn to say less, since the fewer words I spout the less likely I am to say what I wish I hadn’t, providing fewer reasons to later regret. Let’s see how I do with this one. Imagine it’s going to take a long time to hammer this lesson into me.
In terms of improving emotional health and well-being, it’s probably one of those situations where you take the first step despite not seeing the whole staircase yet. I want to be able to love myself again, including my sexuality, and to embrace me as I once did back before the slow erosion wore it all down. Or maybe there’s no past point worth even reflecting on in actuality and it’s better to simply walk forward toward what I hope will be a real sense of strength and grounding. Because the past is dead. It’s still alive in me since it created me, but now I want to create something else, something less broken and guilt-ridden and frustrated. The world is a cesspool, man, and humans can be an impossible bunch to cope with. But there are good people out here too, and there are a lot of things I am grateful for.
My current fear is that I won’t be one of the ones capable of adapting. But I guess I won’t know for certain unless I really give it my all and try. No reason not to strive for better in however much time remains. There’s been enough pain, so I have to change my ways and do whatever is in my power to attract more positive influences and people and opportunities. In some ways I’ve been really blessed already and need to make sure I keep handling all of that the best I can so that it doesn’t wash away. I do have some good people already in my corner, thankfully. Don’t know what I’d do without them. Can’t imagine having made it this far without them. They are my sunshine. And I know the best thing I can do for them right now is keep working on me so that I can be stronger for when they need me.
Someone recommended the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle a while back and I purchased a copy but have yet to read it. Probably should do so soon. Might look for an audio format version instead since that’s easier to take in right now. Needing to bask in worthwhile food for thought. [Later update: Did listen to the audio version of that book but wasn’t impressed. Wasn’t as helpful as hoped.]